The Great Big Demon of Flint Hall
by Peter Oxley
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Pub Date 25 Jan 2024 | Archive Date 25 Jan 2024
"A fast paced thriller-cum-horror-cum-snarky-dark-comedy with two of the most interesting protagonists I’ve ever encountered."
Victorian London's most incompetent crooks - turned demon hunters - are back.
When Tess Marchant gets a plea for help from an old childhood friend, The Great Big Demon Hunting Agency finds itself heading out to the countryside, to solve a mystery involving a Manor House and its wealthy family cursed by a malevolent demon.
Spencer and Bart find themselves in a world totally unfamiliar to them: of landed gentry, fearful poachers, and strange creatures which stalk the land at night. Not to mention unwelcome visitors in the form of the mysterious magician Thaddeus, and the ever-present Inspector Jones, just waiting for them to slip up.
Meanwhile, Tess finds herself struggling with a terrifying face from the past - but can this be the clue which unlocks the mystery of Flint Hall?
The Great Big Demon of Flint Hall is the sequel to The Great Big Demon Hunting Agency, and the second book in the Spencer & Bart series, described by readers as:
"A terrifying, thrilling, almost non-stop journey into magic, privilege, and mystery. Absolutely brilliant."
"A fantastic, fun and demonic treat."
"A fast paced mystery adventure"
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 27 members
A fast-paced, thrilling, light-horror with added dark humour, The Great Big Demon of Flint Hall is the sequel to The Great Big Demon Hunting Agency and the second book in the Spencer & Bart series. It features a pair of Victorian London's most inept charlatans turned demon-hunters, Spencer and Bart and their partner Tess, a childhood friend they've rescued from harm. Together, they form The Great Big Demon Hunting Agency, not as yet renowned but working on it.
I really enjoyed the first book in the series, 'The Great Big Demon Hunting Agency', and it didn't take the trio long to pick up where that novel left off with an explosive start (literally) to this next book in this excellent historical drama. And I am glad to report the narrative persisted in the same unwavering vein.
There is the usual cast of characters where my favourite has to be the formidable Bart, being the partner and right-hand man, and sometimes WMD used by the more intellectual, or should I say, sharp and sleeky Spencer. Not just because he stands out like a sore thumb and lacks Spencer's know-how, but he seems to get all the dirty jobs.
Others reappearing from the first novel include Inspector Jones, whose chip on his shoulder is so big you'd be hard-pressed to find one to match it in your local timber yard. An unpleasant individual who I am sure does not represent the true face of our police force in any shape or form. Lol.
On the other hand, the enigmatic and mysterious magician Thaddeus is another kettle of fish altogether, and you never know whether to take him seriously or treat him as a dangerous altruist.
Although Tess finds herself relatively at home among the landed gentry, Spencer and Bart find themselves completely and utterly out of their comfort zone and thoroughly out of their league. Having to deal with stuck-up, toffee-nosed, spoilt, rich brats makes the blood boil. Even though Bart seems immune to their caustic remarks, Spencer is a tad more sensitive and feels their barbs striking home.
The trio seem able to muddle along, skipping from one catastrophe to another in the vain hope of completing the job at hand. Perhaps coming out with all their limbs attached and preferably in the right places, there's always that niggling doubt that things will not go according to plan and someone will get an undeserved comeuppance.
As there's plenty of deceit and underhanded skulduggery, it makes for more than just a demon hunt, and it certainly doesn't disappoint on that score. The particular peculiarities within the family curse led to Spencer and Bart making a poor impression of Holmes and Watson. And as per the norm with these two reprobates, things have a habit of going pear-shaped, despite their best, hence the superb conclusion to events.
The Great Big Demon of Flint Hall is a mystery, suspense-fuelled historical horror with the added benefit of some slick dark humour. This is an adventurous, outlandish and incredibly entertaining treat from beginning to end. And please take no notice of the teens and young adults because, take it from me, adults will also get a kick out of these novels.
I look forward to the continuation of this uniquely captivating and witty series. Great stuff. Highly recommended
Thanks to Burning Chair and NetGalley for the advanced copy.
I really enjoyed this novel. The characters were well developed and the plot flowed in a way that made sense. I would recommend this book to others and look forward to reading others by this author.
Spencer and Bart’s first book, “The Great Big Demon Hunting Agency”, was my last read of 2022 and it was definitely enjoyable. Because of that, when I saw their second book listed on NetGalley this close to the end of 2023, I figured there was no better way to potentially end the reading year again (we’ll see if more happens in the next couple days!) than with these two bumbling cons gone good.
What I liked:
🔍 My two biggest gripes for book one were it wasn’t as humorous as I thought it would be and it wasn’t as action-packed as I thought it would be. Not sure if Peter Oxley directly read my review and said, “I’ll show her,” but these gripes of mine did not reoccur in this second book.
The book starts out with one hell of a fight that is definitely memorable, and similar fights (or almost encounters) with the demon of Flint Hall are similarly familiar. More depth was added to the fights, and having Tess involved in many of them also helped since it was another person to keep track of in the brawl.
As far as funny goes, this one was filled with more witty banter and well written sarcasm than book 1, especially given more “main characters”. I did find myself laughing aloud while reading this second installment in the series, instead of appreciative “hmmmms” like book 1.
🔍 I liked that I didn’t see the ending coming. I had my suspicions throughout the story of what was happening, and none of it was correct. Nor did I connect the big “breakthrough” at the end. It was genius.
🔍 I loved Tess’s character development in this one! She really leaned into her uniqueness and became a true leader. The way Oxley wrote her character especially, her interactions with and about Spencer and Bart, were fantastic, because it didn’t place her in a spot of becoming their leader because she thought she was better than them (which could have easily come across that way), but because she was turning a new leaf in her own life and wanted to surround herself with great people. Rather than having her come across as bossy, it definitely cemented the partnership between the three of them and what she brings to the table.
🔍Of course, I loved seeing my Thaddeus make another couple of appearances. I’m also not sure if it was wishful thinking on my part or if I was truly spying a little love connection between him and Tess, but I would 100% be down for that!
🔍Speaking of romance, there did seem to be inklings of crushes and whatnot far more apparently in this installment. Hopefully this is representative of what is to come. That would make this hopeless romantic scream with joy, as that’s really all these books are missing at this point!
Thank you to NetGalley, Burning Chair, and Peter Oxley for the opportunity to read this book. The opinions expressed above are honest and my own.
Peter Oxley has once again written a fun, action-packed book with The Great Big Demon of Flint Hall.
All of the characters we came to love in the first book are here again, embroiled in new shenanigans with a flair that only they can provide. The mystery they are charged with unravelling takes an unexpected twist, and Oxley's superb writing keeps you turning the pages.
The book is a perfect mix of adventure, steampunk, comedy, urban fantasy, and historical mystery.
I was happy to get an ARC of #TheGreatBigDemonofFlintHall from #NetGalley .
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read an ARC. All opinions are my own.
I didn't know this was the second book until after I'd finished. That said, it works really well as a standalone as the reader is given enough explanation about the trio's background to have it make sense.
Spencer, Bart, and Tess have been asked to help hunt a demon before it harms someone. While Tess (aka Lady Marchant and the group's entre to helping aristocrats) is the ostensible leader of the group, Spencer and Bart have distinct personalities that don't change whether they're talking to servants, constables, or aristocrats. They know what they don't know and they don't let anyone make them embarrassed about their upbringing or their past.
The story takes place outside of London on a country estate and the action scenes and planning scenes are kept in good balance. Not having read the first book I wasn't aware, but demons do exist in this universe. They're like people with some troublemakers and some hard workers. I didn't hear nearly enough about Trevor to be satisfied. Can he please show up in the next book?
This is a a good mix of mystery and fun. I'll be looking for the first book to get up to speed, and for any further books after.